Thanks to my friend Anna, I've become a hard core "biker". We are both training this summer to ride in the Tour de Pink to benefit the Young Survival Coaltion (you can read all about that here and, hint hint hint, make a donation :) ) But, anyway, as I've now become someone who will spend upwards of 5-15 hours on a bike every week, one of the things I've enjoyed most is getting to know the culture that exists around biking. It always boggles my mind when one finds a new interest (of your own or others) and you find that there is a whole sub-culture and community that exists around this shared passion. I love that.
So, today, out I went on my first really long ride by myself - 70 miles (Anna is in NYC as VP of the Young Survival Coaltion - saving the world). Its funny, when I take on any ride, what concerns me the most isn't if I can do it or not, but what if "something" happens. What if my bike breaks, what if I get a punctured tire. What if...what if...what if... And today, that all was a bit heightened for me as I was by myself. At the very least, I knew the route I was taking and I knew there were bound to be some bikers along the way.
The ride went pretty well, and at 30 miles, I stopped for a stretch/ water/ Nutella break. I leaned my bike up against the stop sign, and chilled for 5 minutes. While I was stopped (texting Stephen to let him know my status), a biker pulled up to the stop sign: "Are you OK?" "Oh, yes, thank you. Just taking a break, texting my husband" "Ok, great! Have a good ride" and he smiled and pedaled off. I thought about that...first of all, apparently "real" bikers don't officially stop. They just go go go :) (I'm a slow, beginner biker - I get it :) ) But second, and more importantly, I really just thought about how nice it was for this guy to stop and be concerned and so friendly when he saw someone who perhaps needed tools, or an airpump, or something else. Very cool.
About 15 miles from home, I stopped again. Same drill - water, stretch. I was at a dead end and about to take a final left turn towards the way home. Coming down that road that I was about to turn on to, was another biker, (going MUCH faster than I do) but he saw me and yelled out "You OK?" and slowed down, looked back and waited till I said "I'm great, thanks!" and then he picked up speed and went on his way.
I never got these two men's names. But they made such a difference in my day, my ride, and my feeling of being "part of the biking community". I learned that not only do we wave to each other as we pass on the roads, but its more: we will always help each other out, and we look out for each other. We support each other and no matter our ability, we want everyone to have a good, safe, fun ride whenever they're out. To feel this support from total random cyclists that I most likely will never see again (and probably not recognize even if I did) feels good. And, these two guys, who ever they are, deserve recognition for being good ambassadors for cycling and for being just darn good people.
3 weeks ago